Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Media consolidation's evil revealed?

Some people claim that Sinclair Broadcasting's decision to play a documentary, Stolen Honor on its stations, reveals the evils of media consolidation. After all, here we have a powerful media player deciding to broadcast propaganda to influence a presidential election for its own ends. The DNC is trying to shut down the broadcast.

I'm sorry but I must have confused this election with some other election. In this other election, I seem to recall a bunch of Vietnam Veterans who did not think Kerry would make a good president playing some ads to that effect, being ignored by broadcast stations, being blogged about to some great degree, being examined by broadcast stations, being rebutted by Kerry officially.

I also seem to recall some guy being taken in by fake memos regarding Bush's service in the National Guard, and some guys online who knew about typography examining the memos and declaring them fake, and this being ignored for a while, but then they wrote about it some more, and then everyone agreed that they were fake after all.

In *that* election there was no shortage of competing media sources, and therefore no shortage of informed eyeballs scouring material for inaccuracy and screaming bloody murder when they found it. In such an environment, Sinclair Broadcasting (I've never heard of them either) can play whatever propaganda they like because the media environment is competitive and diverse, with lots of fact checking and alternatives. Unfortunately, Sinclair does not exist in the world of Swift Boat Vets or Rathergate, it seems to exist in this world of dangerously consolidated media where there are no competing views and their "documentary" will be able to slip through materially uncontested.


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